Monday, July 22, 2013

It Jes' happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

Cover art for IT JES' HAPPENED

Author: Don Tate
Illustrator:   R. Gregory Christie
Publication Year:  
Location: Knox County Public Library- Lawson McGhee

Awards:   Lee & Low New Voice Award, Booklist Top Biographies, Ezra Jack Keats New Writer honor, Kirkus Best Book, Booklist Best Book, Bank Street College Best Books

Summary:  Bill Traylor grew up as a slave in the cotton fields in Alabama. His family worked as sharecroppers after the Civil War was over, and Bill saved the memories of that lifetime as he grew older. After his wife died, he became a homeless resident of Birmingham living off the kindness of others. Finally, in 1939 at the age of 85, he began to draw with pencils on scrap papers. Passersby admired his work until a young artist named Charles Shannon began visiting him regularly. He brought Bill art supplies- colored pencils, paints, paintbrushes, and papers. In 1940, Mr. Shannon arranged an exhibition of Bill's paintings in a local gallery, and many people came to appreciate Bill's memories of his life.

Classroom Ideas: Fascinating story of a life lived in slavery and after the Civil War. A theme that involves success being possible at every age.

Extras: Author's note & source listing, Afterward telling the continued story of Bill Traylor's life and the renown that came to him posthumously

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